General Manager Meetings begin today in Phoenix

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The first official hot stove season event gets underway today. It’s the General Manager Meetings. Which are basically the less-noticed but possibly more interesting younger brother to the Winter Meetings. They get underway today at the Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix and go through Thursday.

Officially there is Major League Baseball business on the agenda — nothing massive like big rules changes or anything — but the real value of the GM meetings is for execs to being laying the groundwork for trades and free agent signings this offseason. To have preliminary conversations with other GMs and with agents. In the past this meant laying the groundwork for deals in December at the Winter Meetings and later. However, last year there was a lot of action in later November soon after the GM meetings concluded. Which means that the rumors you hear this week, as opposed to last week, may have more heft to them and may be a lot closer to actual deals.

We’ve talked a lot about possible destinations for free agents, but maybe the more interesting teams to watch this week are the ones which have trade decisions to make. The Reds, who have several players, such as Johnny Cueto and Jay Bruce, entering their final year before free agency. The A’s, who could be in the market to trade a pitcher. The Phillies, who may be in the market to trade everything that isn’t nailed down. It may be easy for a GM to text an agent about, say, Pablo Sandoval last week or next week, but it’s pretty common for us to hear, right after a big trade happens in the offseason, things like “well, this all started when [other GM] and I had a conversation at the GM meetings  . . .”

So that’s what’s going down this week. Those preliminary conversations and, possibly, an actual deal. Keep it on HBT as, as is our custom, we will pass along all of the rumors and news as we hear it.